Our Year of Stories 2/52

What a week!  After a 77° day on Wednesday, the entire town was shut down in anticipation of a Friday ice storm that never came.  With the Monday school holiday already in place, that gave us a 4-day-weekend.  The ice threat continued through Saturday, so we mostly hung out inside.

We have started a workshop through Brené Brown’s COURAGEworks community, The Art of Imperfect Parenting (phenomenal — HIGHLY recommend).  The first assignment required us all to draw a house and list things we are always allowed to do here.  M listed, “read” and “play.”   H’s list was “Dance, Do backflips, and Shake your groove thing.”  I anticipated lists that included hug, love, tell the truth, or pray, but their lists were a pretty fantastic outcome.  At least I know we’ve built a fun home.

This child’s feet.  I didn’t even know that feet could smell like that.  Okay, that’s a lie.  I know very well that they can because that was me at his age – always tore up, stinky shoes.  I guess our feet just work extra hard or something to destroy shoes like that and to produce that smell.  For the record, we grow out of this.  I swear my feet don’t still smell like rotten eggs and cheese.


Basketball season has begun, so in addition to technique night, H has practice and games.  M has decided she wants to join in on the action and, let me tell you, this girl has a mean dribble!


This is princess dress #6 for the night.  She ended up sleeping in princess dress #7, Princess Merida (minus the red wig).  We do not discourage this since we are going to Disney in March and feel like this may heighten the anticipation of the Princess Dinner ;-).

Yes, I had an image of her watching the sun last week too, but she does this often.  And if I’m not the one that pointed it out to her, she will yell at me, “Mom, come quick, it’s the sun!!!”

This is from another lesson from The Art of Imperfect Parenting course.  These are their empathy hands, but I don’t think M is feeling much empathy for my need to test out my new Sigma 24 lens.

Eating their afternoon snack and H kicking the most amazing bed head I’ve seen in some time!  Along with the stinky feet, he also got this from me.  Lucky boy.

January 17, 2017 - 8:00 am

Our Year of Stories – 2/52 – Our Year of Stories - […] Mel Karlberg The weather chased us inside for most of the weekend.  As you can see from H’s insane bed head, we didn’t care much what we looked like as we relaxed around the house.  For more of our week, head here. […]

January 17, 2017 - 5:52 pm

kelly polizzi - lOVE THESE! Especially the one of the watercolor painting with those big brown eyes looking up. Btw where did you get those paint sets? I love how big they are.

January 18, 2017 - 6:16 am

admin - Thank you 🙂

I found the paints at our local Tuesday Morning.

Our Year of Stories 1/52

So, I’m starting my third 365.  I did my first in 2012 and my second in 2014.  I thought I would just do the even years, but I just didn’t have the motivation in 2016.
This year, I am motivated and excited to launch a 365 that documents this time in my kids’ lives.

My only rules for my 365 are 1) to shoot every day, 2) that it must be my kids or something related to them (no macro or landscape for this project) and 3) I’m not allowed to direct or manipulate my kids —
shoot what is happening and don’t set up shots or activities purely for the sake of getting a picture.

So, here we go.  Let’s do this!

M is one of 3 younger girls inout neighborhood.  Although they have plenty of great play time, the girls live on the other end of the street, leaving M alone often to play with the big boys.  I have to say, they are the most inclusive big boys I’ve ever met.  Every once in a while, M is asked to step out of a game.  It’s usually because they don’t think she can handle how rough it is getting, but then (as happened here after she was done pouting), she steps in and destroys them all with her fierceness.  This girl has so much spunk!


We explore in these woods quite a bit, but we walked around to a back entrance and found things we had never seen.  H was equal parts fascinated and terrified of this stick fort we found.


This was the last day of break before school started back up.  As M kept saying, “this is 18 days, and we go back to school on day 19!”  I walked in on this impromptu dance party, complete with the strobe flashlight from H’s stocking.  They were ROCKING OUT to Adam Levine.


Our kids are always “in bed” by 8, but the clip clops and squealing make it obvious that they are NOT sleeping.  On a rare night, it is really quiet up there and I hopefully go up to check if they are sleeping.  Then I just laugh at myself, because that is the silliest wishful thinking ever ;-).  I love the activities they choose after 8, but I worry about them not being rested for school.  If it wasn’t for the early wake-up, I would let them draw, read, dress-up and dance until midnight.


She loves sunsets.  This energetic, free spirit will stop whatever activity she is doing and watch as soon as the colors start changing, sometimes sticking around for well over 10 minutes to catch the entire show.  If I am within earshot, she always alerts me too – “Look, Mom!  A sunset!!!”


Her first Oklahoma snow.  This is just outside our front door, where she plopped down and made snow angel as soon as we stepped outside.


It was also our neighbor’s dog, Elmer’s, first snow.  (This image may have been the same day as the one above.  They all wore the same outerwear the 3 days of snow, so it was hard to keep track.  I’m fine with this — my 365, my lax rules ;-). )


This sledding hill was quickly turning into more grass than snow when they finally decided to head back there. With the forecast for this week reaching 77°, I’m glad they got their sledding in while they could!


She wore this dress to church.  And I let her.  Because, really, what difference does it make?  When else in her life will she be able to get away with wearing princess dresses in public?  She brought smiles to so many faces this day in Target that I may just let her wear princess dresses there every time we go for the simple act of making the world a happier place.  (But why do my kids always pick the mammoth double-seater cart and then never use the seats!?  You can slide under or hang off of the normal sized carts just as easily.  Have you ever tried to steer one of these through Target?)


January 10, 2017 - 7:32 am

Our Year of Stories – 1/52 – Our Year of Stories - […] One of my resolutions this year is to diffuse stressful situations and to be the calmest person in the room.  Part of that involves picking my battles, deciding what is really important and what I am making into a bigger deal than needed.  In honor of that, I present to you a 4-year-old riding on the side of a cart (not just any cart, but the impossible-to-steer double-seater that why would you pick if you weren’t going to use the seats!) in a princess dress (that she wore to church).  For more of my 365 project, head here. […]

A year of stories 52/52

When you finish reading our story, don’t forget to follow the circle, starting with my friend, Julie Mak.

I started this project with a post about my son growing up and my fears associated with that.
And, here I am, ending the year with a similar post.

Last January, I was wrestling with the emotions of him not wanting to spend as much time with me.
I vowed to say, “yes,” to all of the mom/son dates, nature walks and heart-to-heart talks.
He’s still all about hanging out with me, until he wants to hang out with his friends.
And I’m good with that.  I love that he has awesome friends.

But I still worry.

I see him playing differently with some friends than others,
being silly with his sister and younger friends, but not wanting to let his guard down when older friends are near.

I get that this is just a path he has to live, decisions he has to make about who he is.
But I see the uncertainty, the craving for direction and guidance.
He’s brave and bold one second,
tentative and unsure the next


He’s an encourager and leader, even a risk taker at times,
but then he questions himself, turns back, decides being safe might be the better answer.
I don’t think considering both sides is a bad thing.
I don’t think any of this is abnormal for a boy of this age.
He’s supposed to be finding himself and figuring out where he stands and what he stands for.

I have peace with the most important things.
He knows God.
He has a kind heart.
He loves big.

What I worry about is that growing up will take away something he is so certain about now – imagination and creating.
Before we went on our walk, he wanted to sit down and sketch a story about what we might find in the woods.
This is an abandoned house with “friendly ghosts,” an old Girl Scout meeting area that met an untimely end.
I love that creative mind of his and I see how he lights up when he’s inside his imagination.

I know all too well how creativity can be influenced by others’ influence and judgment.
When I see him tentative about how to play around older kids,
I see this doubt creeping in.
Is it okay to play make-believe?
Is it acceptable to be creative?

My prayer for him this year as he faces the uncertainty and change that come with turning 9
is that he is able to hold onto those things that fill his heart with joy,
that he is confident in his convictions and creativity,
that he holds onto that world-changing original way of seeing things for a lifetime.


A year of stories 50/52

5x5-framenewWhen you finish reading our story, don’t forget to follow the circle, starting with my talented friend, Cynthia Dawson.

A few weeks ago, he asked me the question.
“Mom, is Santa really real?”
“Well, there’s not a simple answer to that question, but if you really want to know the whole story,
we can sit down, just you and me, and talk about it anytime you want.”
My plan was similar to this – Santa story
But then he reconsidered his question.
“I don’t think I really want to know right now.”

Flash forward to this week.
“Mom, can we do a mother/son date?”
(we used to do these weekly, but we haven’t recently)
“Sure, where do you want to go?”
“Let’s go to a Starbucks lunch.  But not the one in Target.
The real restaurant one where we aren’t surrounded by people shopping so we can talk.”

Ok, I thought, this is it.  This is the coffee date where we have the talk.
This is the coffee date where I need to accept that he really is growing up.

Only, that’s not at all what he had planned.
He just wanted our old mother/son date, where we just talk about silly things as they come to us.

None of the topics began, Tell me the story about Santa.

They were
Let me tell you about what Big Nate is really about.
You know, he’s in middle school and there is, you know, boyfriend and girlfriend stuff.
(okay, so no “I’m growing up and want to talk Santa,” but this was definitely foreshadowing for changing interests, a reminder that these mother/son dates need to not get so few and far between as he grows up!)

What would Space Starbucks be like?  You know, they don’t have hot chocolate in space, but they do have soccer and cheese.

Mom, why does Starbucks use a greek mythology figure on their cups?
(The kid knows more about mythology than I do, so this was a
very interesting discussion after we did a Starbucks logo choice Google search.)

Let’s look up funny pictures on the internet.  Try dog dragon!  Now try elephant fish!
Try it – it’s hilarious!  We were probably close to getting kicked out of Starbucks laughing so hard.

Remember that book store with the coffee shop in Pennsylvania?  I miss that place.
When I grow up, can we own a bookstore together?
And let’s find one with a huge basement where we put the best books and a cafe!

Oh, son, that would be a dream, wouldn’t it?

Coffee and conversation with you for the rest of my life sounds perfect.